InterJournal Complex Systems, 480
Status: Submitted
Manuscript Number: [480]
Submission Date: 10318
Comment on manuscript revision number 48658
ICCS Review by L. Sacks.
Author(s): Lionel Sacks

Subject(s): CX.20, CX.14, CX.11

Category: Brief Article


This paper, as for many papers in this area, uses an in depth study of one field to make general conclusions about aspects of complexity and self-organizing systems. The physics side of the paper looks good although it doesn't have the in depth theory / analysis in normal physics terms. The long textual description seems OK, but can get hard to follow! No doubt the Phys Rev papers contain the details. Considering this area from a complexity point of view, it seems like rich pickings. Clearly there are nonlinear and feedback phenomena in place which are going - as analyzed in the paper - to have critical regions of the phase space. It would be interesting to know / see if there was a detailed theoretical analysis of this a la spin-glasses - or a lattice model. A critically important part is the statement about the fireball defying the second law at birth. This is interesting as it starts to relate to a central issue in complexity/SOC discussions; i.e. natural phenomena - like life - which violate thermodynamics over quite a large 'local' system (although not globally of course). This could do with a bit more discussion. A second issue is whether this is really a self-organizing system. In contrast to, for example, a systems 'locked' into a local minima close to other local minima or are mettastable - that is, required work to be put in to maintain stability. As mentioned above, the physical analysis in these terms is missing. Both these states are possible. However, I believe that a self-organizing systems has to have an external 'cost' function or survival / selection criteria. There are clearly interesting 'patterns' or states that emerge. In this way they are like the (all be it hackneyed Rayleigh-Bernard convection roles etc.) There is an external selection criteria of sorts (the physicists select potentials and gasses carefully) but these are incidental. The important thing is that the patterns are not there for any operational reason. As such, I feel, this is small 'e' emergence. Intrinsically interesting but that significant in terms of understanding target Emergent systems which adapt their patterns to survive in turbulent environments (e.g. life).

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